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Report: Marijuana Grow Sites Causing Environmental Damage

Scott Bauer
A California outdoor marijuana garden adjacent to a drained wetland. The wetland was drained to irrigate the marijuana garden.

Marijuana is big business in California. By some estimates pot is actually the state's top cash crop. But with the boom in marijuana cultivation, there is also a significant environmental toll. Mountain tops are being leveled, and streams are being illegally diverted threatening species already stressed by the drought. With the possibility of marijuana legalization looming in 2016, the issue of how to clean up the environmental damage caused by pot production is a big concern. 

To talk about the damage and the extent of the problem, as well as the potential for cleanup and restoration activities we recently spoke with two guests on Valley Edition:

Jennifer Carah - Ecoregional Ecologist for the North Coast with The Nature Conservancy, the lead author of a new study in the journalBioscience.

DeWayne Little - A game warden at CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife in Redding. He is leading the enforcement team on illegal pot grows. 

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of KVPR / Valley Public Radio. He has led the station through major programming changes, the launch of KVPR Classical and the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership the station was named California Non-Profit of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado (2019), and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting (2022).